KTEP - El Paso, Texas

Benjamin Naddaff-Hafrey

The first time Tony Presley heard Sun June, it was through his apartment floor. The co-founder of up-and-coming Austin label Keeled Scales was living above Estuary Recording Facility, where the band was tracking its debut LP, Years. The album, which Keeled Scales will release June 15, retains the warmth of that initial encounter. Sun June's music is something that comes in snatches, wisps that captivate and escape the ear with all the airy weight of dust rising from an Austin floorboard on every beat of a muffled drum.

Wimberley, Texas is about 45 minutes out from Austin by car or truck — far enough to allow a music scene independent of Austin's own to thrive in that hill country. Alexander Buck Meek grew up in that scene, among the jazz manouche, blues and outlaw country guitarists of the region. Even though Buck Meek's work with Big Thief has taken him far away from his Texas home, the lead single from his self-titled debut album sounds as if it echoes out from the state's hill country.

When Gaby Moreno's guitar failed her at the start of her set, she borrowed one from Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, with whom she was sharing the bill. But the guitar would barely matter — the Guatemalan singer's set was, justifiably, defined by the stunning range of her voice, which can move from righteously defiant to cracked and wounded in the span of a single note, from Spanish to English in the span of a set.

Margo Price sings classic country songs that manage to enchant, even as they disillusion. Her steadfast voice and songwriting conjure a powerful sense of nostalgia — she emerged in 2016 with Midwest Farmer's Daughter, an album that didn't so much callback to '70s country as it did flawlessly reanimate it. But if her musical signifiers are comfortably familiar, her lyrics stand in stark opposition to that feeling.

Justin Vernon's career as Bon Iver has perfectly aligned with NPR Music's existence. It was 10 years ago this past summer that For Emma, Forever Ago began to write the project and the myth of its creation into indie-rock legend, making Vernon's own name nearly synonymous with it in the process. The idea of that cabin in the woods and Vernon's wounded, multi-tracked falsetto have since become iconic.

Despite having visited the Tiny Desk three times, and traveling to the tunnels beneath Fort Adams State Park, Jeff Tweedy has brought only a fraction of his many musical permutations to NPR Music during our first 10 years.

Tank and the Bangas' live show never fails to make an impression.

The first time the NPR Music team encountered the band, it was early 2017 and our staff was sifting through entries to our Tiny Desk Contest. It's easy to disappear into a crowd of more than 6,000, but the band's entry immediately distinguished itself through its palpable joy and arresting charisma and was, not long after, named the winner of our contest.

After the unfortunate Songs of Innocence roll-out, many people questioned whether there was still a place for U2 in 2014 and beyond. U2 seems to have asked themselves the same question. As other, more grippingly consequential upheavals occurred over the ensuing years, the band found themselves touring their newly relevant 1987 classic, The Joshua Tree.

As with the best Van Morrison songs, "Transformation" billows out from its oft-repeated refrain. The lead single off Morrison's upcoming Roll With The Punches (out Sept. 22) consists largely of the 71-year-old Irish singer belting "gonna be a transformation" over a triumphant soul progression. But if there's been a transformation in Morrison over his long career, it isn't evident here. This is a soaring bit of classic Morrison roots-soul — and his best outing in recent years.

By the end of the beautiful video for "I Would," Slow Dancer is cloaked in muddied white fur and dancing with ecstatic abandon on a frigid beach in Melbourne, Australia. If you don't know the romantic Australian singer-songwriter, you couldn't ask for a better introduction — it's a moment that captures the warmth, nostalgia and yearning that animates his work.

On January 27, a New Orleans group called Tank And The Bangas uploaded a video to YouTube. It was a simple, one-shot clip of the R&B, spoken-word and hip-hop group performing their song "Quick": a danceable, NOLA revenge-fantasy of sorts.

Another grueling and glorious SXSW has finally come to a close. Bob Boilen and Stephen Thompson, the last men on the All Songs Considered island, gathered at 2 a.m. to recap the sets they loved on the festival's closing day. On Stephen's recommendation (he's written about her before), Bob saw Los Angeles singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers in the Central Presbyterian Church.

Late yesterday evening, Bob Boilen, Robin Hilton, Katie Presley and Stephen Thompson wandered the streets of Austin recapping a day of music. For everyone, it was a day of political music that still made space for joy. Katie saw mostly rap yesterday, and she was especially struck by Moor Mother, whose fiery set had also inspired an excellent performance from New York-based rapper SAMMUS.

Amid truck horns and the distant sounds of Montell Jordan's "This Is How We Do It," the All Songs Considered team gathered outside of Stubb's BBQ to recount a day overflowing with new musical discoveries and old favorites. On Wednesday night, NPR Music hosted its annual showcase at Stubb's. That event at that place has become as ritual as tacos and crowded streets for this crowd, but the show still astonished them. Stephen Thompson fell for Sylvan Esso's new songs.

On the fourth of July in 2005, Sufjan Stevens released Illinois, a record that made him a household name, at least among a particular set of indie rock fans and music critics.